Two Methods for Titling Blog Posts

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Write RightWhen it comes to titles, two broad categories exist: descriptive and suggestive. Descriptive titles are what they say they are. They describe the topic of the post, and they do so clearly and succinctly. Suggestive titles are hooks; that is, they lure a reader into reading more either through a provocative statement, a particular attitude, or some sort of ambiguity.

Descriptive titles tend to be used in more academic or professional settings. The reason is simple: descriptive titles don’t ruffle feathers nor do they seek to provoke a specific response. Descriptive titles are neutral. They announce the topic. Nothing more, nothing less.

Suggestive titles are different. They are meant to capture attention; thus, they are more often found in informal communications, such as popular magazines or blogs. Even then, differences occur. An article in a popular magazine may not have to be as careful with keywords as a blog post does. Despite that difference, the titles are alike in most ways. They “hook” a reader through an inflammatory statement, sometimes a statement found within the article or post itself. They also may “hook” a reader through a familiar phrase, a trending name, or a memorable image.

Choosing which type of title to use depends on a number of factors. Audience is one. The purpose of the article or post is another as is the topic itself. Writers shouldn’t worry about which title to choose during the writing stage; they should consider it during revision. The initial draft or two provides a clearer sense of direction, which can help to determine the tone and style of the title. The title, in turn, brings the post or article into sharper focus.

Titles, then, belong to two broad categories, descriptive and suggestive. The first is primarily used in academic and professional settings. The second, in informal settings although it can transgress the boundaries of formal writing at times. The choice of which type of title to use is up to the writer and his or her sense of the topic, the reason for writing about the topic, and his or her intended audience.

Have a question about titles? Share them in a comment.

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Erin Feldman

Erin Feldman is the director of editorial services at Tenacity5 Media and the founder of Write Right. She's a copywriter, editor, poet, and artist. You can find Erin on .

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6 comments
Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

It's always a tough balance between being creative or getting SEO juice. Pretty hard to do the two in one! 

rdopping
rdopping

I struggle so with titles. Sigh.

I am trying the idea of writing several and always after the post is written. I think I am trying to hard. 

You see, when a post is sent, to me, it's the title and the first few lines that are the most important. I struggle with the notion of being very clear about the intent or provocative and edgy to hook a reader. There is likely no right answer but I wonder because of the sensationalizing that happens in media every day that we have become desensitized enough that we won't go further if the title is not a massive "wow"?

All I know is I absolutely can't stand it when I read a title, click on the post and get something completely different than I was expecting.

It's a crap shoot......:-)

KDillabough
KDillabough

I have only one thing to say: the word "titling" looks very weird. Cheers! Kaarina P.S. The title is sooooo important. I work hard on them, but one never knows...too boring, too suggestive, too obtuse?...sigh

Erin F.
Erin F. moderator

@rdopping I can't stand that, either. The author raises expectations, then defeats them. It's a case of crying wolf. The author won't last long if he or she keeps doing that.

Media has had an awful effect on what it takes to get people to pay attention. I don't know what the answer is there, either.

Titles just take practice. I struggle more with titling poems than I do blog posts.

How much time are you spending on the title? Maybe setting a time limit would help?

Latest blog post: Are You Tough Enough?

Erin F.
Erin F. moderator

@KDillabough It does look strange! I don't know what to do about that, just as I don't know how to alleviate the anxiety about choosing one. I've gotten to the point where I choose one and move forward. I think I get irritated with myself for obsessing, so I just pick one and keep going. :)

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